Whether you paint the room in pink or blue (or some gender neutral hue), pregnancy can still earn you a pink slip. It’s illegal, of course. As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) notes, it is unlawful to treat a female applicant or employee unfavorably due to pregnancy, childbirth or a medical condition related to childbirth or pregnancy.
The Pregnancy Disability Act, passed almost 40 years ago, prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy in any aspect of employment. In situations where a woman is temporarily unable to perform job duties due to pregnancy, childbirth or related condition, the employer is required to treat her in the same way it would treat any other temporarily disabled employee – with alternative assignments, light duty, disability leave or unpaid leave.
Despite all this, employers continue to discriminate against workers on the basis of pregnancy and childbirth. They may not be as blatant about it as they were four decades ago, but it’s still happening. Continue reading